A van will deliver you to any address in Miami, though the route can be circuitous and long because of all the passengers it picks up and drops off. Book return trips at least 24 hours in advance. $10-$16 each way.
Taxis are the quickest option from the Miami airport. Some fares are set at a flat rate according to seven zones. A one-way trip downtown costs about $19, while South Beach is $28. Note: The fee is per car, not per passenger.
The only practical option for reaching Miami from the Fort Lauderdale airport, which most of the new budget carriers like JetBlue and Song use as their South Florida hub. The ride into Miami is about 45 minutes.
Public buses & trains
Miami's local bus system is slow but easy to use. Handiest routes include the no. 24 to Coral Gables and the C, K, and S, which all connect to South Beach and run north. $1.50 (exact change only). The Metrorail system makes 22 stops, each a mile apart, along a single north-south line between Palmetto and Dadeland South. Tourists, though, can use it as a quick option to whiz down to Coral Gables. $1.50 (exact change only).
South Beach Local 305/535-9160, Metromover 305/770-3131, Coral Gables Trolley 305/460-5070, coralgables.com/cgweb/trolley.aspx
Convenient, district-specific public transport includes the South Beach Local (25¢), which runs in a loop from Washing-ton Ave. to Dade Blvd. and then to Alton Rd. Downtown, the Metromover light-rail (free) ribbons around the central business district, making regular stops on the waterfront and in the Brickell and Omni districts. Coral Gables has its own daytime trolley service (free), which whisks you from Douglas Rd. to the Miracle Mile, making regular stops on the way.
You'll have no problem hailing a cab on the streets of South Beach. (Elsewhere in the city is more difficult.) Fares run $1.70 for the first eleventh of a mile, then 20¢ for each additional eleventh of a mile. Call Central Cab, 305/532-5555.
WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND TOWN
The Urban Tour Host
Choose from an array of thematic tours: Watch workers roll cigars in Little Havana, see the homes of early Bahamian settlers, or join ecoguides in Everglades National Park. Call for schedule and pickup points. From $49 per person, includes lunch.
Historical Museum of South Florida tours
101 W. Flagler St., 305/375-1621, historical-museum.org
Rotating schedule of about 20 historical walking and cycling trips that take in every aspect of the city: guided ghost walks, boat tours of the Miami River, and bike rides to the Bacardi Buildings on Biscayne Blvd. Call or check the website for current schedule. From $15.
Miami Design Preservation League
1001 Ocean Dr., 305/672-2014, mdpl.org
Highly recommended. Informative tours of the deco highlights run by the South Beach-based preservation society, which cherry-picks the best buildings along Collins and Washington aves., as well as Ocean Dr. $20. Wed.-Sun.
NUMBERS TO KNOW